Employees from across Naval Support Activity Philadelphia filed into the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support auditorium to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during the annual birthday observance program held Jan. 23 in Philadelphia.
The DLA Troop Support and NAVSUP Weapons Systems Support Equal Employment Opportunities committees hosted the event, which commemorated the national theme, “Remember! Celebrate! Act! A Day On, Not a Day Off.”
“The first official observance of the King holiday took place on the third Monday in January in 1986,” Army Brig. Gen. Mark Simerly, DLA Troop Support commander said. “The holiday is not just a day off from work or school, but it is a day to keep Dr. King’s dream alive by serving and giving back to others.”
In his remarks, Simerly mentioned King’s accomplishments in Philadelphia and the surrounding area and reminded those in attendance of local happenings that occurred over the holiday weekend to honor Dr. King’s legacy.
“I hope that you embraced Dr. King’s philosophy of service by taking advantage of an opportunity to volunteer at a local food pantry or homeless shelter like Manna or Philabundance here in Philly,” Simerly said. “Better yet, maybe you enjoyed a free screening of the documentary, "Whose Streets?" at the African American Museum or heard a reading of Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech at the National Constitution Center.”
The keynote speaker for this year’s event was Jim Lucas, a student and advocate of Dr. King’s philosophy of nonviolent civil action.
Lucas engaged the audience with a dramatic story of King’s life while intertwining renditions of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream,” “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop,” excerpts from “The Drum Major Instinct,” the “Letter from Birmingham Jail” and other works in a dramatic one-man show.
As Lucas graced the stage he grasped the attention of the audience as he opened his keynote address the same way ended with words from King’s final sermon making a thunderous sound that echoed throughout the room.
“If I could help somebody, as I pass along, if I could cheer somebody with a word or a song,” Lucas said boisterously. “If I can show somebody that he is traveling wrong, then my living shall not be in vain.”